Home > Americas, Economics, Latin America, Politics > Bolivia’s Agrarian Revolution: Trying to Keep the Promises of Past Governments

Bolivia’s Agrarian Revolution: Trying to Keep the Promises of Past Governments

Douglas Hertzler writes in Andean Information Network:

Bolivia has more land per capita than any other country in South America, but it is still the poorest country on the continent, partly because it has the most inequitable land tenure. The western third of the country, where most of the indigenous majority lives, is mountainous and relatively unproductive, while the eastern two thirds of tropical lowlands are dominated by a small class of elite large-scale landholders.

Land claim records have been poorly kept and exact land tenure figures are not yet available. However, government officials estimate that a few thousand large landholders control at least 60 to 70 percent of the potentially productive land in the east, while only 5 to 10 percent of the agricultural land is in the hands of hundreds of thousands of indigenous farmers. Several smaller lowland indigenous groups have been awarded large territories, but these are mostly protected forest reserves and dry subtropical plains that are not well-suited for agriculture.

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